Broadband passes 500 million subscribers

One in every five of the world’s households now has broadband.

Broadband has taken a significant step forward as the number of subscriber lines passed the 500 million mark in July 2010. The milestone was revealed as the Broadband Forum provided its global Broadband and IPTV Industry Update at its quarterly meeting in Hong Kong today. Research by industry analysts Point Topic (http://point-topic.com/fgvbvb home/gbs/) pinpointed the actual date as being in the third week in July and the Broadband Forum will mark the occasion with a Milestone Celebration later this week.

Robin Mersh, Chief Executive Officer of the Broadband Forum, said: "This is an extremely significant milestone and it reflects the critical importance of broadband in our daily lives, both for business and leisure. The Forum is already looking ahead to the next half billion lines and the challenges and opportunities that such rapid global growth can present.

“Today is a day to celebrate, but we continue to work towards strategic broadband evolution goals and our work on IPv6 and helping service providers to support its integration is part of our role in anticipating and solving the issues before they arise. This is the one of the key initiatives that is paving the way for the next milestone to be achieved.”

The new figures show that global broadband subscribers reached 498 million lines (497,768,162) by the end of June 2010, representing a 2.63 per cent growth in the quarter and 11.99 per cent in the last 12 months to end of Q2 2010.

Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic, said: “It has only taken 11 years to get to half a billion fixed broadband lines. The internet and all that it brings has taken hold like no technology since the invention of fire. It has brought the world closer together, improved health and education standards and introduced an era of cooperation and information sharing that will hasten economic growth and improve standards of living for potentially billions around the world.”

 

Broadband growth continues in all regions

In a typically slow quarter with many markets, particularly in the Americas, reflecting the end of a number of central subsidies and stimulus packages there were still significant signs of some countries continuing their return to economic health:

  • China – the powerhouse of global broadband in the 21st century so far was responsible for 43 per cent of all net broadband lines added in Q2 2010 and performed far better than the same quarter in 2009 ('China' includes Mainland China, Hong Kong & Macau)
  • In Western Europe many markets did better than the equivalent 2009 quarter. Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland and Turkey amongst others all reported strong numbers.

  • Central and South American markets have cooled to an extent but many are still reporting good quarterly growth (in the 5 per cent - 7 per cent range).

  • However North America, the USA and in particular Canada have significantly slowed and - in Canada’s case - to levels not seen for a decade.

“The end of housing stimulus packages in North America has badly affected growth in broadband. However all other regions performed better in the second quarter of 2010 than the same period in 2009,” said Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic.

Continuing the trend from previous quarterly figures, Asia increased its share of the overall broadband market by a further 1.2 per cent in the year Q209 to Q210 and by 0.41% in the last quarter alone. The region now accounts for almost 41 per cent of the total, with Europe in second place with 30 per cent and the Americas showing 26 per cent. China is the biggest individual contributor to the Asian growth adding 5,470,888 lines bringing its total to 120,591,488, over 24 per cent of the 500,000,000 lines achieved in the early part of Q3.

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